Pig’s feet, I think to myself, while I accept the plate of aspic offered- one of the joys of home nursing: accepting hospitality graciously! I have had tea, coffee, cookies, seaweed and many other morsels, but pig’s feet- this is a first! Thank God the little feet are not visible, just the meat lovingly picked from the bones, and I am told the horseradish is
a must to bring out the flavor. Surprising myself, it’s tasty in a strange way, not something I will order from a menu at my next opportunity, but the childish pleasure on my host’s face as I told her it was quite good was pretty spectacular. (Katrina had assured me I
had probably never had this dish before. She was right.)
A friend of mine has told me about her first years in Africa, and some of the bowls of unrecognizable food in dirt-floored rooms prepared by loving hands, and how appreciative she learned to be, of all offerings.
Food for many of us is a way of nurturing and caring for each other. It’s one of the reasons families struggle so much when their loved ones begin eating less and less. Anyone who is dying slowly will have the natural progression of diminishing appetite, until they stop eating all together. I have had countless conversations with concerned family members, explaining how the body stops being able to assimilate food as the end of life approaches. Nonetheless, this is a hard transition to make. We show how much we care when we
cook a special dish for someone.
Over the past weeks, at each of my visits to Ivan’s home, have been welcomed, always offered tea, and asked the series of question; Have I eaten yet? Do I need anything? Will I try this? I am continually reminded of the givers in the world, people who in their nature want to do for others.
Regardless of explaining to them that they don’t need to worry about me, and certainly don’t need to make ME tea, they are quick to care for me. I am trying to re-train them so
that they will let ME make the tea… And bring the cookies.